What does it really take to stand out as a high performer who gets bigger opportunities? That’s the question we’ll be addressing in this episode.
Being great at your job is important, but to accelerate your career success, your value-add must go beyond your job description. Your ability to solve hard problems and create value in new ways IS what makes you more valuable.
In this episode, Elisa Steele, CEO and Board Director, shares her perspective on creating value through relationships and problem-solving. She challenges everyone to be proactive in seeking hard assignments where there is a need for change, and to do what it takes to solve problems instead of simply accepting the status quo. Elisa attributes her own successes to always going above and beyond in creating value for others.
Elisa has held numerous C-suite roles including CEO of Namely, CEO of Jive, CMO of Consumer Apps & Services at Microsoft, CMO at Skype, EVP & CMO at Yahoo! Elisa also has deep board experience serving on multiple committees for both public and private companies. Currently, Elisa is a Board Director at Bumble, Chairman of the Board at Cornerstone On Demand, and member of the Board of Splunk and Namely. She is a member of the NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) and participates in the Equilar Board Leadership Program.
Elisa has been recognized for her leadership throughout the years, building strong teams, networks and ecosystems. She was recognized by the Stevie American Business Awards for ‘Executive of the Year’ and ‘Woman of the Year’ as well as named a “Woman of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
[03:02] Elisa’s formation story
[05:22] Learning about business by solving customer problems
[07:51] Developing mastery of enterprise sales
[12:49] Seize opportunities to close gaps
[16:38] Supporting the needs of women’s careers
[19:47] Elisa’s experience with balancing family & work
[22:22] How motherhood shaped Elisa in her role as CEO
[25:39] Advice for women seeking Board positions
[28:54] Importance of visibility in getting Board roles
[32:42] Advice for startup female founders
[35:40] First consideration in scaling a business
[37:33] Ask questions and become a better listener
[40:44] Elisa’s daily success habit
“When you build relationships and help people solve problems, you create value.”– Elisa Steele
“Take the hard assignments at the beginning of your career because you learn exponentially more than you learn in taking the easy assignments.” – Elisa Steele
“It's not just about the rules of today, it's about how you break through those to create the rules of tomorrow.” – Elisa Steele
About Elisa Steele:
A business leader in tech sector for 30 years, Elisa is an experienced executive in Silicon Valley. Elisa has broad experience across consumer and enterprise businesses – and thrives at the intersection of both. She’s led transformations to scale, grow and drive impact across many organizations, both large and small.
Elisa was mostly recently CEO of Namely, a leader in HCM SaaS, funded by Sequoia Capital, Matrix Ventures and Golden Gate Ventures. During her time as CEO, Elisa raised $60M in venture funding, delivered product modernization, improved customer NPS and set the foundation for scalable growth.
Prior to Namely, Elisa was Jive Software’s President & CEO (NASDAQ: JIVE), responsible for strategy and global operations. Elisa reset corporate strategy, transitioned to a cloud-leading business, created focus on large scale enterprise solutions and delivered turnaround business and financial results for shareholders, customers and employees. Under her leadership, the company was ultimately acquired for $462M. Elisa joined Jive as EVP of Marketing (CMO) & Products (CPO), and was promoted to CEO after 9 months of joining the company.
Prior to Jive, Elisa was CVP & CMO of Consumer Apps & Services at Microsoft, including responsibility for the brands bing, Internet Explorer, Lync, MSN, outlook.com, Cortana and Skype, among others. Prior to Microsoft, she was CMO at Skype, EVP & CMO at Yahoo! And SVP at NetApp. She also held various sales, business development, general manager and leadership positions at Sun Microsystems and AT&T.
Elisa is Chairman of the Board of Cornerstone On Demand (NASDAQ: CSOD), Chairman of Namely, and member of the Board of Directors of Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK). She also serves as Advisor to the CEO of Tile and people.ai. She has deep board experience servicing on multiple committees for both public and private companies. She is a member of the NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) and participates in the Equilar Board Leadership Program.
Elisa has been recognized for her leadership throughout the years, building strong teams, networks and ecosystems. She was recognized by the Stevie American Business Awards for ‘Executive of the Year’ and ‘Woman of the Year’ as well as named a “Woman of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Elisa served as a judge for the annual “Forbes Cloud 100”, the WSJ ‘Marketers that Matter’ awards, and the Churchill Club Awards. Elisa hosts a speaker series called SpeakHer Mindtm that seeks to amplify voices and share practical, positive steps that can deliberately build workplace environments that empower women to achieve their potential.
Elisa has previously served on the Interactive Advertising Bureau Board of Directors and Executive Committee, as well as the Advisory boards for Forbes Women, Amber Alert and Equality Now organizations.
Elisa holds an MBA from San Francisco State University (Distinguished Alumni) and a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of New Hampshire (Phi Kappa Phi Honors).